(Thursday, April 29 10:55 AM)
LOS ANGELES (Zap2it.com) - The owner of eight ABC affiliates has told the stations not to air a "Nightline" broadcast that will be devoted entirely to reading the names of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq.
A statement from the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns 62 stations in 39 markets across the country, says the roll call of fallen soldiers, scheduled for Friday (April 30), "appears to be motivated by a political agenda designed to undermine the efforts of the United States in Iraq."
ABC stations in St. Louis; Columbus, Ohio; Asheville, N.C.; Charleston, W.Va.; Greensboro, N.C.; Pensacola, Fla.; Springfield, Mass.; and Tallahassee, Fla., will pull the broadcast.
"While the Sinclair Broadcast Group honors the memory of the brave members of the military who have sacrificed their lives in the service of our country, we do not believe such political statements should be disguised as news content," the company's statement says. It also asks why "Nightline" anchor Ted Koppel won't instead be reading the names of victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
ABC News responds that "Nightline" and its other news programs have reported "hundreds of stories" on the 9/11 attacks, and that the network aired the names of the victims on the first anniversary of the attacks.
"The 'Nightline' broadcast is an expression of respect which simply seeks to honor those who have laid down their lives for this country," ABC says.
Sinclair also recently began sending "good news" stories about Iraq to its local stations -- an effort, it says, to counter the stream of downbeat coverage about the U.S.-led occupation.
Are you f************* kidding me?